Sammy Ameobi has today opened up about his “brutally honest” conversation with Rafa Benitez last summer, being told he was not part of his plans and had to train with the reserves – also admitting that he regrets not putting in 100 per cent during his time on Tyneside.
After joining the club’s Academy in 2008, Sammy Ameobi’s 9-year association with NUFC was ended over the summer, with the 25-year old winger being let go after failing to be handed a new contract by Rafa Benitez – subsequently signing for Bolton on a free.
Following our relegation in the summer of 2016, it has been revealed that Rafa met with Ameobi, telling the winger to find a new club and sending him to train with the reserves in the mean-time given he was not part of his first-team plans.
He then joined Bolton on a six-month loan deal, however rejoined NUFC over the second half of our Championship campaign after an injury crisis – only to feature on just 4 occasions from then on in.
Here’s what Sammy’s had to say on the matter today in an interview with The Sun:
“At the start of last season, he said, ‘We’ve looked at you and you’re not in our plans. You should find a new club or go on loan.’ He sent me down to train with the reserve team,”
“He is brutally honest but it is it how it is. Different managers have their different ways and that’s his, and that’s absolutely fine. I don’t have a problem with that and there are no hard feelings at all.
“When I came on loan to Bolton, to get to play week in, week out was something I’d never had before.
“It was a great honour to get called back because I love Newcastle and it’s my home. So to think I might get an opportunity there was great.
“But then again, when I realised that I was down the pecking order, it got a bit uncomfortable because it wasn’t what I wanted to do, I want to play every week. I realised then that it was time to move on.
“I grew up in Newcastle and it’s my home. For as long as I remember, there has always been an Ameobi there. But times change.”
Fair play to Sammy for taking it on the chin.
He appears to have found his level in the Championship with Bolton and has done very well in recent weeks. scoring three in 6 starts, including a superb solo goal against Sheffield Wednesday and another long-range strike at the Stadium of Light recently!
Sammy then discussed why it never quite worked out for him at NUFC, accepting that, in hindsight, he should have applied himself his more during his time on Tyneside, suggesting he also suffered from ‘lapses of concentration’:
“It’s difficult to say. I’ve had periods where maybe I haven’t put in 100 per cent of the work that I know I should have. Maybe if I had, I might still be playing there now,”
“After I came through and was two or three years in the first team, I was on the bench a lot which I found quite frustrating. There could have been moments with lapses of concentration.
“You think it’s going to last forever but that’s not the case. You have to put the work in. No matter how good you think you are, if you don’t work hard you’re not going to get anywhere.
“That’s something I wish I had learnt earlier in my career. But here I am and I’m grateful of the opportunity I’ve got here at Bolton. I’ll make the most of it and put the work in.”
Some insightful comments from Sammy here, and probably a fair admission that he didn’t quite take the opportunity he was handed at NUFC with both hands.
For a 6ft 4′ winger, he had surprising skill and was capable of some moments of brilliance, however he never really put that together at senior level and often looked like he wasn’t quite up to it physically or mentally.
Hopefully he can continue his good form at Bolton and keep on scoring against the Mackems – for as long as they’re in the Championship that is!